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ANNEX 4 Aeronautical Charts

The world of aviation, which by its very nature knows no geographical or political boundaries, requires maps that are unlike those used in ground transportation.

For the safe performance of air operations it is essential that a current, comprehensive and authoritative source of navigation information be made available at all times, and aeronautical charts provide a convenient medium for supplying this information in a manageable, condensed and coordinated manner.

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, however, today’s often complex aeronautical charts may be worth much more.

Aeronautical charts not only provide the two dimensional information common in most maps, but also often portray three dimensional air traffic service systems.

Almost all ICAO States produce aeronautical charts and most segments of aviation make reference to them for planning, air traffic control and navigation purposes.

Without the global standardization of aeronautical charts it would be difficult for pilots and other chart users to effectively find and interpret important navigation information.

The safe and efficient flow of air traffic is facilitated by aeronautical charts drawn to accepted ICAO Standards.

The Standards, Recommended Practices and explanatory notes contained in Annex 4 define the obligations of States to make available certain ICAO aeronautical chart types, and specify chart coverage, format, identification and content including standardized symbology and colour use.

The goal is to satisfy the need for uniformity and consistency in the provision of aeronautical charts that contain appropriate information of a defined quality.

When a published aeronautical chart contains “ICAO” in its title, this indicates that the chart producer has conformed to both general Annex 4 Standards and those pertaining to a particular ICAO chart type.

The ICAO Council first adopted the original Standards and Recommended Practices in 1948.

Annex 4 has its origins in “Annex J - Aeronautical Maps and Charts” of the Draft Technical Annexes adopted by the International Civil Aviation Conference in Chicago in 1944.

Since the adoption of the first edition which provided specifications for seven ICAO chart types, there have been fifty-three amendments to update the Annex to accommodate the rapid advances in air navigation and cartographic technology.

The ICAO series of aeronautical charts now consists of twenty-one types, each intended to serve specialized purposes.

They range from detailed charts for individual aerodromes/heliports to small-scale charts for flight planning purposes and include electronic aeronautical charts for cockpit display.

There are three series of charts available for planning and visual navigation, each with a different scale.

The Aeronautical Navigation Chart — ICAO Small Scale charts cover the largest area for a given amount of paper; they provide a general purpose chart series suitable for long-range flight planning.

The World Aeronautical Chart — ICAO 1 : 1 000 000 charts provide complete world coverage with uniform presentation of data at a constant scale, and are used in the production of other charts.

The Aeronautical Chart — ICAO 1:500 000 series supplies more detail and provides a suitable medium for pilot and navigation training.

This series is most suitable for use by low-speed, short- or mediumrange aircraft operating at low and intermediate altitudes.

The vast majority of scheduled flights take place along routes defined by radio and electronic navigation systems that make visual reference to the ground unnecessary.

This type of navigation is conducted under instrument flight rules and the flight is required to comply with air traffic control services procedures.

The Enroute Chart — ICAO portrays the air traffic service system, radio navigation aids and other aeronautical information essential to en-route navigation under instrument flight rules.

It is designed for easy handling in the crowded space of an aircraft flight deck, and the presentation of information is such that it can easily be read in varying conditions of natural and artificial light.

Where flights cross extensive oceanic and sparsely settled areas, the Plotting Chart — ICAO provides a means of maintaining a continuous flight record of aircraft position and is sometimes produced to complement the more complex enroute charts.

As a flight approaches its destination, more detail is required about the area around the aerodrome of intended landing.

The Area Chart — ICAO provides pilots with information to facilitate the transition from en-route phase to final approach phase, as well as from take-off to en-route phases of the flight.

The charts are designed to enable pilots to comply with departure and arrival procedures and holding pattern procedures, all of which are coordinated with the information on the instrument approach charts.

Frequently, air traffic services routes or position reporting requirements are different for arrivals and for departures and these cannot be shown with sufficient clarity on the area chart.

Under these conditions a separate Standard Departure Chart — Instrument (SID) — ICAO and Standard Arrival Chart — Instrument (STAR) — ICAO are produced.

The area chart may also be supplemented by a Radar Minimum Altitude Chart — ICAO which is designed to provide the information to enable flight crews to monitor and cross-check altitudes assigned while under radar control.

The Instrument Approach Chart — ICAO provides the pilot with a graphic presentation of instrument approach procedures, and missed approach procedures to be followed should the crew be unable to carry out a landing.

This chart type contains a plan and profile view of the approach with full details of associated radio navigation aids and necessary aerodrome and topographical information.

When a visual-type approach is flown, the pilot may refer to a Visual Approach Chart — ICAO which illustrates the basic aerodrome layout and surrounding features easily recognizable from the air.

As well as providing orientation, these charts are designed to highlight potential dangers such as obstacles, high terrain and areas of hazardous airspace.

The Aerodrome/Heliport Chart — ICAO provides an illustration of the aerodrome or heliport which allows the pilot to recognize significant features, rapidly clear the runway or heliport touchdown area after landing and follow taxiing instructions.

The charts show aerodrome/heliport movement areas, visual indicator locations, taxiing guidance aids, aerodrome/heliport lighting, hangars, terminal buildings and aircraft/heliport stands, various reference points required for the setting and checking of navigation systems and operational information such as pavement strengths and radio communication facility frequencies.

At large aerodromes where all the aircraft taxiing and parking information cannot be clearly shown on the Aerodrome/Heliport Chart — ICAO, details are provided by the supplementary Aerodrome Ground Movement Chart — ICAO and the Aircraft Parking/Docking Chart — ICAO.

The heights of obstacles around airports are of critical importance to aircraft operations.

Information about these are given in detail on the Aerodrome Obstacle Charts — ICAO, Types A, B, and C.

These charts are intended to assist aircraft operators in making the complex take-off mass, distance and performance calculations required, including those covering emergency situations such as engine failure during takeoff.

Aerodrome obstacle charts show the runways in plan and profile, take-off flight path areas and the distances available for take-off run and accelerate-stop, taking obstacles into account; this data is provided for each runway which has significant obstacles in the take-off area.

The detailed topographical information provided by some aerodrome obstacle charts includes coverage of areas as far as 45 km away from the aerodrome itself.

Recent developments associated with “glass cockpit technologies”, the availability and exchange of electronic aeronautical information, and the increased implementation of navigation systems with high positional accuracies and continuous position fixing, have created an environment well suited to the rapid development of viable electronic charts for display in the cockpit.

A fully developed electronic aeronautical chart display has the potential for functionality that extends well beyond paper charts and could offer significant benefits such as continuous plotting of the aircraft’s position and customization of the chart display depending on the phase of flight and other operational considerations.

Annex 4, Chapter 20 Electronic Aeronautical Chart Display — ICAO provides basic requirements aimed at standardizing electronic aeronautical chart displays while not unduly limiting the development of this new cartographic technology.

Annex 4 provisions have evolved considerably from the seven original ICAO chart types adopted in 1948.

To ensure that aeronautical charts meet the technological and other requirements of modern aviation operations, ICAO is constantly monitoring, improving and updating aeronautical chart specifications.

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